Engineers Hosts National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Webinar for Architects, Engineers, and Contractors

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Sept. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- “Building a Foundation for Reconciliation 2022: The Interconnections between Infrastructure, Culture, and the Environment“ will explore and discuss how architecture, engineering, construction (AEC), and related industries can honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action and become better allies to Indigenous Nations.

On September 30, 2022, in partnership with IISAAK OLAM Foundation, Tsawout First Nation, Halalt First Nation, and the Roots to Roofs Community Development Society, RJC Engineers (RJC) will host the second installment of the “Building a Foundation for Reconciliation” webinar series. The first webinar in this series gave an overview of the history of this Land and outlined ways in which we can try to see the complex interconnections between many of the challenges facing Indigenous Nations. This webinar builds on that foundation.

“This webinar is a great resource for industry practitioners to improve their awareness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action Number 92, and how architecture, engineering, and construction firms can be supportive partners and allies” shares Eric Wilson, Indigenous Projects Liaison with RJC Engineers and IPCA Infrastructure and Systems Lead with IISAKK OLAM Foundation.

” Collectively, we face substantial challenges in the years to come. The defining issues of our time - climate change, ecological collapse, poverty, water scarcity, and turbulent social stratification - cannot be addressed through the lens of engineering, efficiency, and western government policy. Our best chance to produce meaningful solutions to these challenges is dependent on the coming together of Indigenous and Western Knowledge systems in mutual respect and appreciation of each other’s strengths. Elder Albert Marshall described this in his description of two-eyed seeing. In Marshall's words ‘Two-Eyed Seeing refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous ways of knowing and from the other eye with the strengths of Western ways of knowing and to using both of these eyes together for the benefit of all’ ” explains Wilson.

“The constitutional foundation stones of the country we know today as Canada was built upon sacred treaty relationships between European and Indigenous Nations in the spirit and practice of peace and friendship. These relationships were with one another, with Mother Nature, and with the Creator. Learning about the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history residential schools, helps build understanding so that together we can co-create a future for this land in-line with the original spirit of peace and friendship,” says Eli Enns, Co-founder and President of the IISAAK OLAM Foundation.

Attendees will have the honour of learning from Indigenous knowledge holders from Tsawout First Nation and Halalt First Nation who will discuss the intimate connections between infrastructure, culture, and environment Other speakers include the IISAAK OLAM Foundation and Roots-to-Roofs Community Development Society.

The mini-conference will help AEC practitioners better understand how to approach infrastructure design with Indigenous Nations in a way that supports community, environmental, and cultural health and well-being. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the need for a systems approach to engineering design, and recognize the need for community led design. Presenters will share the role of infrastructure in the development of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and ways to identify how participants and their organizations can support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action number 92.

AME Group and AES Engineering are sponsors of the event, with support by the Canadian Mountain Network and the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership.

The free 2-hour webinar will be held September 30th from 10 – 12 PDT. Register here

RJC Engineers: (RJC) is a national, employee owned engineering firm that celebrates creative thinking, prompt service, and technical excellence in the design and maintenance of structures. Bringing the best of RJC to every project for over seven decades, they integrate ingenuity and practicality to create success for their clients and their projects. RJC provides structural engineering, structural restoration, building science, parking facility design, structural glass engineering, and building energy modelling services. RJC locations, leadership, projects, services, and contact information can be found at

AME Group: Is a full-service mechanical consulting engineering firm specializing in sustainable design. Our projects not only create a space of experience for us today, but reflect our purpose for future generations. Since inception in 2005, AME has grown from a single small office to locations in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, and Revelstoke. Our talented team of professionals offer extensive experience designing strategic solutions for a diverse range of projects, locally and across Canada.

AES Engineering: Is a leading Canadian consulting firm providing electrical engineering, lighting, and technology services for the built environment. Established in 2001, we have grown to over 130 people across British Columbia and Alberta while servicing clients nationwide. We provide solutions for building construction and infrastructure through mindful design and future-ready technology. Our unique approach prioritizes long-lasting sustainability, innovation, value, and well-being. Our focus is simple: We are designing a better tomorrow.

IISAAK OLAM Foundation: The IISAAK OLAM Foundation shares knowledge and builds capacity for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs). The Foundation’s programs and collaborations support Indigenous leadership in the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, the development of sustainable and resilient communities, reconciliation between Indigenous and newcomer societies, and innovative solutions for (re)connecting people with their environment. Their ultimate purpose is to support the establishment and long-term capacity of IPCAs and to educate Canadians about their value and relevance.

Roots to Roofs Community Development Society: Roots to Roofs Community Development Society strives to be a leading nonprofit resources group, co-creating resilient housing, energy, training, and planning solutions with communities.  From project visioning and inception, to construction and on-going management, their partners’ desires direct their activities and they move together at the speed of trust.

Canadian Mountain Network: This not-for-profit is Canada’s first formal research organization dedicated to advancing our understanding of mountain systems, which provide important benefits to Canadians living both near and far from these distinctive and iconic landscapes. CMN is focused on building partnerships between Indigenous organizations and communities, universities, governments, businesses and the not-for-profit sector, who are all committed to working together to advance knowledge that is inclusive.

Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership: The Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership is an Indigenous-led network that brings together a diverse range of partners to advance Indigenous-led conservation and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) across Canada. It aims to investigate, inform, and transform conservation strategy and practice by centring Indigenous leadership, rights, responsibilities, and knowledge. The CRP is a collective of Indigenous leadership, conservation agencies and organizations, academia, civil society and communities acting on and building from the recommendations set out by the Indigenous Circle of Expert’s report We Rise Together.

Tsawout First Nation: Tsawout First Nation is one of five bands that constitute the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) Nation, along with Tsartlip, Tseycum, Malahat and Pauquachin. The W̱SÁNEĆ Nation used to be one group, but was artificially split up by the federal government into multiple bands. Tsawout historically spoke SENĆOŦEN (pronounced sen-CHAW-thin).

“As Saanich people we strive to be whole in the spiritual, Cultural, and Physical sense. We continue to develop a healthy community which seeks a balance between our traditional values and today’s economy, as the stewards of our lands and resources”

Vision statement from the Tsawout Comprehensive Community Plan (2010)

Halalt First Nation: The Halalt originate from the village of xeláltxw, which means ‘marked houses’ or ‘painted houses’, a reference to the fact that the houseposts in this village were decorated. According to information collected by Rozen (1985), this village was once located in the Cowichan Valley, at the spot where the Silver Bridge currently crosses the Cowichan River, at the south-eastern edge of the city of Duncan. According to Cowichan oral history, the forefathers of both the Cowichan and Chemainus people (Siyóletse and St’éts’en respectively) originated from this village.

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Tanya Kennedy Flood
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